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Farewell ceremony for
special attack corps
ohka squadron


Japanese manga (comic) books and magazines cover a very wide range of topics, such as business, cooking, golf, history, and numerous academic topics. Many adults and children read manga on a regular basis, especially when commuting to and from work or school. One genre of Japanese manga includes stories about World War II, including special attack corps that carried out suicide attacks near the end of the war. This section includes reviews of the following manga stories:

Between 1994 and 2001, Combat Comics published seven stories about different types of special attack corps, such as suicide attacks by kaiten (manned torpedoes) and ohka (piloted rocket-powered gliders). Combat Comics issued an anthology of these stories in Tokkou: The Spirit of Kamikaze in 2001.

Jitsuroku: Kamikaze tokubetsu kougekitai, kanzenban (Authentic accounts: Kamikaze Special Attack Corps, unabridged edition) tells the stories of six individual pilots in the Navy and Army Special Attack Corps, including Yukio Seki, Saburō Miyagawa, Toshio Anazawa, Hajime Fujii, Takamasa Senda, and Tatsuo Nakatsuru.

Tokkou no shima 1 (The isle of tokkou 1) gives a realistic portrayal of training at a kaiten base in late 1944. This story focuses on the relationship between Yuzo Watanabe and Lieutenant Junior Grade Sekio Nishina, co-creator of the kaiten special attack weapon. Tokkou no shima 2 (The isle of tokkou 2) continues the story of Yuzo Watanabe and his friend Masao Sekiguchi, depicts the first kaiten attack at Ulithi in November 1944, and shows the sendoff from the island of Otsushima of the I-53 submarine carrying four kaiten. In Tokkou no shima 3 (The isle of tokkou 3), I-53 with Watanabe and Sekiguchi aboard gets bombed by five enemy planes and then gets subjected to many depth charges dropped from three enemy destroyers. Tokkou no shima 4 (The isle of tokkou 4) starts with the arrival at Tanegashima of the heavily damaged I-53 submarine, which at the end of Volume 3 had escaped three enemy destroyers when Sekiguchi led them away from the submerged submarine with his kaiten. After completion of repairs, I-53 continues its mission to Kossol Passage in the Palau Islands with three remaining kaiten weapons. Tokkou no shima 5 (The isle of tokkou 5) tells the story of the rescue of Yuzo Watanabe, pilot of the kaiten that did not launch from the I-53 submarine, and the submarine's escape from four enemy ships dropping depth charges. Watanabe returns in depression to the kaiten base at Otsushima, where he becomes a kaiten instructor after the base commander refuses to assign him as a pilot on the next kaiten mission from the base. Tokkou no shima 6 (The Isle of Tokkou 6) covers kaiten pilot Yuzo Watanabe's five-month stay on Otsushima Base after he returned alive. He and Commander Itakura, head of the kaiten base, share their feelings toward the war and the kaiten program. The inner feelings of the six kaiten pilots aboard the I-53 submarine are revealed in Tokkou no shima 7 (The Isle of Tokkou 7) as the submarine moves toward an enemy convoy of 17 ships in the Bashi Channel located between Taiwan and the northern coast of the Philippines. In Tokkou no shima 8 (The Isle of Tokkou 8), the I-53 submarine comes under constant attack by exploding depth charges dropped from two enemy escort ships, and Yuzo Watanabe's kaiten gets launched.

Aa tokkou: Chiran, Kanoya ni saita wakazakura (Ah, special attacks: Young cherry blossoms that bloomed in Chiran and Kanoya) is an anthology of eight stories by different authors about suicide attack squadrons that made sorties from air bases in southern Japan. Most stories were originally published in the 1970s. "Aa Ioutou" "Ningen gyorai kaiten" ("Ah, Iwo Jima" "Kaiten human torpedo") is a similar anthology from the same publisher. The five war manga stories, including one about kaiten pilots and another about ohka pilots, were originally published from 1968 to 1978.

Sensō to komikku: Kinjirareta senshi (War and comics: Forbidden war history) contains seven stories of extreme human suffering of Japanese soldiers during the Pacific War. Two involve characters in Japan's Special Attack Forces with one story about the desire of two pilots to avoid their mission of death and another story that involves tragic loss of life with little effect on the overall course of the war.

In the manga book entitled Ginga tokkoutai kishuu seri! (Ginga special attack corps kamikaze attacks!), the first story tells about a squadron of 16 Ginga (Frances) twin-engined bombers that make a fictional suicide attack on B-29 air bases in Saipan and Tinian.

Nichibei taiheiyou kessen!! (Japanese-American Final Battle in Pacific!!) has two stories about special attacks. "Fate's Wake," which depicts the sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, includes kaiten (manned torpedo) pilots as main characters. "Special Attack!! Battleship Yamato" portrays the giant battleship's sinking by American warplanes. 

Deguchi no nai umi (Sea without exit), a manga story for teenage girls, tells the love story between a kaiten human torpedo pilot named Koji Namiki and his girlfriend Minako Narumi. The manga is based on a 2004 novel by Hideo Yokoyama, and a film was released in September 2006 based on the same novel.

The final manga reviewed in this section has a unique style quite different than the first two books. Yoshinori Kobayashi, one of Japan's most popular manga artists, argues strongly for his nationalist positions in Sensouron (On war) published in 1998. This popular manga book that sold over 600,000 copies has three chapters about special attack corps.